Monday Must-Haves!

First of all, happy marathon monday! Hopefully,  you’re planning on live-streaming the marathon this morning. Secondly, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend (hopefully spent with family, faith and food!). My husband and I attended a new church this weekend and we really loved it’s mission:

“We seek to build a diverse, intentional, affirming community animated by joyful worship and called forth into social action for service to the greater good.

We seek to hear God’s call not only as individuals but also as a progressive, missional community striving to reflect the Kingdom of God in the here and now.

We embrace the rich history of the Reformed Tradition and the storied past of our once-prominent, center-city church, as we welcome a diverse, urban community of seekers –  young and old, gay and straight, rich and poor, of all races and ethnicities.

We are called into a meaningful, transformative community that values the unique blessings and perspectives of each member and offers a place of welcome and healing to weary souls.

We seek dynamic servant leaders who serve humbly, embrace change, and boldly challenge injustices in the wider community.

Most important, we seek to proclaim the Gospel in both word and deed, following the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 8.54.21 AMWe started off our Easter morning with some heavenly baked oatmeal. I used peaches and blueberries but you can use any fruit that your heart desires. I also swapped the milk for coconut milk. This was a hearty breakfast for us, would make a great addition to any breakfast or brunch spread if you’re cooking for a group!

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After church, we had lunch with my brother and his family, and our mom who came to visit. My nephew LOVED my first attempt at carrot cake (I’m the queen of not trying recipes before I make them for an event, so far so good!). He walked around asking for more cake from everyone after he finished the piece we were “sharing.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 8.54.39 AMA fine weekend if I do say so myself! The husband is off to Chicago this week and I’m headed to Boston for an overnight on Wednesday. Quick trip to finalize details on a project and then back home on Thursday for our last weekend before wedding season starts!  So, for my Monday Must-Haves:

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#1: FitBit – it doesn’t matter whether you have the FitBit One or FitBit Zip, or any of the other options, any of them will motivate you to MOVE. I have the “zip” and it calculates my steps taken, calories burned, and mileage for the day. You can add a food diary in your app which will help with the caloric data. You’re supposed to take 10,000 steps a day (or around 5 miles), having this little device attached to you will certainly push you to get closer to that number. I hook mine on my pants or skirt each day (or on my bra if I’m wearing a dress), it’s easy to conceal!

#2: Herbal Essences Naked Shampoo: You can grab this at any drugstore or Target. I picked it up over the weekend and couldn’t believe how clean my hair felt after using it. Also, the volumizing aspect is actually there. I usually use Aveda products to make my hair perk up (or Big Sexy Hair What a Tease Back Comb in a Bottle for special events), but for every day use, this shampoo does a great job. Highly recommend it for only $4 a bottle!

#3: Beach Body 21 Day Fix:  If you’re able to be productive while working out at home, and capable of jumping around, I highly recommend this workout system. You get 3 discs of workouts, including: cardio, plyo, yoga, pilates, upper/lower body and other variations. The workouts are only 30 minutes each, and that includes a warm up and post workout stretch. If you also follow the meal plan that comes with this system, you’ll certainly see results. If you can’t follow the diet but need a quick workout in your life, it’s still an effective fitness plan.

#4: J.R. Watkins Hand Soap: When we moved in our new house, I grabbed a couple bottles of the aloe & green tea soap from Target, not knowing what a hit it would be! Everyone who comes out of our guest bath comments on how excellent it smells. Plus, it’s in a cute bottle so you don’t even need to transfer it to a soap-dispenser!

#5: Shark Navigator: my mom got us this vacuum for Christmas and it has literally been a God-send. We use it CONSTANTLY (in lieu of sweeping). Having two dogs who insist on shedding year-round, this is the quickest way to spiffy up the house – and it has settings for hardwoods or carpet. (Thanks, Ma!)

#6: Brita Water Bottle: this guy is my constant companion. Easy for grabbing water essentially anywhere, including airports – and not feeling gross. You see, it filters the water before you drink it. No need to purchase water bottles anymore if you have this one, you can fill it up anytime and be on your merry way!

Happy Monday! Try to make someone else’s day happy while increasing your own happiness!

Let it go

Sorry for all you Frozen fans, this post will not be about the beloved movie, but I do have it on my list of films to watch. Letting things go can make you a happier person. It seems pretty simple, but we all tend to harbor a little resentment about something, maybe hold a grudge over something that happened years ago, or can’t shake that angry feeling after being cut off in traffic. Unfortunately, even though you may be right in your feelings at the time, it doesn’t impact the other person the way it does you.

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My husband says I will die on my principles. He also says that sometimes I spend too much energy trying to prove a point. Anyone else do this? When I know I’m right, I want to make sure that others do, too. In fact, I rarely shout out answers unless I am 150% sure that I’m correct. But when I’m not listened to, not given credit, or someone argues (when I KNOW I am right), I tend to get ready for battle on the subject and continue trying to prove the point. I am also a sharer. Over the weekend, I shared a terrible experience with a local Charlotte Photographer. This photographer asked me to model some poses for her so she could practice them, and in exchange she would give me free headshots. Felt like a good trade-off at the time. I spent almost two hours in her home studio on February 23, 2014. I waited until March 3rd to ask her when I might get the photos and she responded that I would have them by the weekend (3/7). Without going through all the details and multiple times I attempted to contact her after that without response, I decided to share the story on social media. Upon doing so, I found others who had similar experiences with this photographer and also found reviews online of her poor communication and terrible customer service. The social media got her attention (as it often does). Within an hour, I had 9 shares of one tweet to almost 2500 followers. How’s that for a PR nightmare for a small business? My goal was not to cause the nightmare for her, it was to bring attention to how she was treating me (and other customers), and to get her attention on the subject. She responded (threatening legal action for my libelous truthful comments) and told me that she had lost my images and wouldn’t be able to provide them. She did offer a new session and that I could sit there while she edited the photos and get them then and there. A) I don’t have time for that B) I don’t care to work with her and C) I don’t think her work could be that good based on the rest of her business practices. The point is not about the photographer here, the point is about how much time and energy I wasted on this person. Time, reviews and word of mouth will sink her business, and I didn’t need to spend part of my weekend putting forth the effort I did. My husband told me to let it go and if I still wanted headshots, go to someone who is a little more professional and just pay fo them (great idea!).

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It’s not just with the photographer that I do this. If I have a bad day, I tend to think (and over think) what happened, who was involved and who should be responsible. I think we’re all a little guilty of this on some level. In order to be happy, we have to let go of those moments that steal our happiness. Let go of bad days, angry phone calls with your cable company, that driver who swerved in front of you, the TSA agent who slowed you down, and be more forgiving overall. Try to understand where others are coming from before you get worked up or upset. A lot of times we interpret things differently than the person speaking to us meant them. Maybe that text that said “fine” actually meant “that’s a good plan. I’m fine with it!” and not that they hated the idea. Trying not to jump to conclusions can help with our attitude and level of happiness. Try to assume that people always have the best intentions (without being completely naive), and see how that effects your outlook. Try to let go of any grudges you may be holding onto. Forgive people, especially for those things that really no longer matter. The longer you hold onto something, the more important it seems, but in reality, it’s just a tiny blip on your map of life. Just has happiness trumps money, happiness wins in the attitude arena. Take a deep breath, stop proving points until you’re short of breath, forgive, spend your energy doing something you love instead, and let it go.

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Choosing Happiness

I’ve been reading a lot of books on marriage, happiness, change and if anything has resonated with me it’s that you can CHOOSE to be HAPPY. When something doesn’t go your way, you have the option to huff and puff, tell everyone you know about it and be worked up for the rest of the day, or you can choose to not let it bring you down. In reality, that person who uploaded something incorrectly for you on the form that you created, probably just did it wrong and wasn’t actually trying to sabotage your work. Maybe the person who cut you off on your drive to work wasn’t trying to cause an accident but was running late because their kid forgot their lunch box and they had to go home and get it. Trying to focus on the big picture can help you determine if that one incident really matters and if it should send your day in a downward spiral. I’m guessing 95% of the time, it won’t matter in a week and your heart would be better off if you hadn’t spend that time griping about it.

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I’m working on doing what makes me happy. We all have a lot of things that have to get done, but we don’t have to spend all of our time doing those and none doing what will brighten our lives until we’re done with the “have-to” list. It should be a compromise on how we spend our time. For me, there’s nothing better than a good run. If I had to make a list of other ways to get instant happiness in my life, I’d say:

  1. A dinner/movie date with my husband (or a cuddle session with one of the dogs if hubs is out of town)
  2. A spontaneous weekend escape to the beach
  3. A pedicure and/or massage
  4. Hot yoga (even better after a run)
  5. A catch-up session with a friend

Spending time working on your own happiness is imperative to achieving it. Obviously, there will be moments where you won’t be happy (and shouldn’t be) but in the times where it’s a choice to either let something slide or think on it all day, choosing to let it slide will get you to happiness 100 times faster. I’m making a deal with my husband to only talk about the good things that happened in a day for a week, and not complaining about the bad. Sometimes sharing feels good, but you’re not only letting other people thing you’re miserable, you tend to bring them down too.

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If you’re up for reading some excellent books on happiness, I recommend:

  1. The Happiness Project (Gretchin Rubin)  *follow up with Happier at Home if you need more!
  2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (Richard Carlson)
  3. Happy Wives Club (Fawn Weaver)

And my next book is “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie (thanks, Lo).

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Removing things from your life that make you unhappy is okay. You can’t make someone else want to be happy (although, I am still working on trying to find a way to do this). Spending time around negative energy doesn’t do anything positive for your own mental state. Happiness is a choice we make every day. When you wake up, tell yourself it is going to be a good day – and mean it. Do things that will make you happy throughout the day. Start with a breakfast that will give you energy (and is healthy!), take a walk if you need a break at work, have lunch with your other half or a friend (getting out of the office for lunch is a MUST – even if you’re eating what you packed at a picnic table – just don’t set at your desk!), plan time to workout or walk in the evening, do some stretching or reading to relax at night. Do whatever makes YOU happy. Life’s too short to not be happy.

 

Happy tails!

I had a different post planned for today but my heart is being pulled in a different direction. I’ve said it before but dogs are my passion; they have been ever since I was little and I had a gazillion stuffed animals, wanted to adopt all of the puppies at the pound and had long lists of names for my future dogs. My husband somewhat understands this, although is also somewhat annoyed by the number of dogs (and frequency of which) I share on Facebook that need to be rescued.

In more recent times, I’ve been able to volunteer with various rescue groups and foster, help at adoption events or handle social media platforms for them. All of this helps, but my heart still wants to do more. I recently made a new friend who had her heart strings pulled on one night by this guy who was stuck at Gaston County Animal Control. His owner left him locked in an apartment after moving out and the landlord found him (no idea on how long he was there).

roo 1In the shelter, he was frightened and bothered by all of the barking. He cowered when she went to pet him. No rescues were stepping up for this guy, but a rescue without their 501 (c) said they could help if she would get him and foster him for a few weeks. This was his first day out of the shelter.

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And it’s only gotten better from there. He walks well on a leash, stays in his crate and is working on house training. She sent me this picture today of him cuddling with her 1-year old rescue dog.

RooThis boy just needed a second chance. He needed to know that he wasn’t going to be locked away alone, or shoved in a kennel with 50 other scared dogs. He needed to know love, and that he would be fed and would have a warm bed. He needed a friend to play with (and cuddle with).
roo3He looks like a totally different dog than the one who was hours away from dying at the shelter. There are MILLIONS others like him. If you’re in the market for a new dog, adopt. There are puppies, there are “teenage” dogs (those between 1-4 years old), and there are seniors. There are house-trained, crate-trained dogs. There are purebred dogs (over 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred). And if you don’t want to go to the shelter, look at local rescues.
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If you’re interested in adopting “Roo,” you can email takenbysarah@gmail.com for more info or to meet this sweet pup.

Love what you do

Finding happiness in your work may not always be possible, but it is definitely what we all want in our careers. From a young age, we desire success. We plan to be doctors, teachers, lawyers… or a veterinarian in my case. We talk about families, travel and our jobs, even as children. I remember playing “house” as a kid and pretending I had a job that I was coming home from. Most people work because they have to, but it’s nice if you can find a job that you love if you’re going to have to do it anyway. 

unnamed-3I watched the movie “Bounce” when I was younger. Yes, back when Ben Affleck was still a respectable movie star (before Gigli). I decided then that I wanted to be in Advertising when I grew up. I focused my undergrad on Advertising and my grad school on Communications. Luckily, I’ve been successful in my career and in finding jobs that align with my degrees. But it didn’t come without work. Growing up we weren’t rich, we weren’t poor either, but we certainly weren’t considered “well off.” I think that created a drive in me (and in my brother) that has helped our careers, shaped our personalities and made us who we are today. Having not been handed everything in life, I understand the value of hard work. I respect the power of networking and make every attempt to make valuable connections. Being ambitious (or aggressive in my career, as some have said), I am not afraid to ask to join meetings, groups, events, or set up time to chat about what a department or person does. It may seem bold, but it has only benefited me to this point in my career. I also believe in taking every opportunity I can to develop myself personally and professionally (i.e.: grad school, CCMP, trainings, reading influential books, etc.). 
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While I was in grad school, I was in a communication role and doing work that I wanted to do. However, I also fell in love with the power of social media and wanted to pursue that passion. Along with falling in love, I also fell into a position as a social media consultant. Having been in that role, I learned a lot about social media, how businesses use social media, how little some people know about social media and a lot about myself. I grew a lot from that experience and realized I needed to become more of a teacher than a do-er. I never wanted to manage social media for anyone but myself, but I do want people to understand the value of certain platforms and how it can help their company. I was incredibly busy at the point in my life, with grad school, planning a wedding, a full time job and consulting – but I was happy. I was doing what I loved. 

I’m always a proponent of doing what you love. I constantly send friends job posting that I think align with their career goals or skills. I review and edit resumes and cover letters for friends and family regularly. I try to help people make connections, do mock interviews or seek out opportunities to become qualified for their dream job. We all deserve to be happy. Being comfortable in a job can make it hard to leave. Being unsure of the future or fearful of a pay decrease can, too. I think happiness wins. Happiness trumps money. 

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It’s really easy for us to settle in life and stop making attempts to move forward. I’m sure I’ll get to that point in my career but I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m enjoying a corporate role in communications and my side gig of being a social media consultant within the community. Today, I urge you to look at what you’re doing and ask yourself if it’s what you love. If it’s not, take an hour this evening to search for your “dream job” and see what the qualifications are – and if you are missing more than 40% of them, set goals to get qualified. If you meet them and you have just been scared to jump, I say DO IT. It can’t hurt to update your resume, interview and see what’s out there. If you’re happier at work, you’ll be happier when you get home. It’s a win-win. Go out and aim for happiness! 

 

Ready to Move!

This past week, on top of trying to eat healthy, I was busy packing for our big move, taking care of a sick pup (think he just missed his dad), and working from home while we had some renovations done on our townhouse. You could say it was a full week. However, I was even more glad that I decided to make the Vegetable and Bean soup from last week because it lasted the entire week! I changed up my meal plan some, but I did end up making most of the meals I listed and they were all delicious. Including some photos to get your mouth watering. Lots of vegetable chopping but your body will appreciate it!

I’m on to Round Two this week and here’s the plan:

Monday

Breakfast: Oatmeal (if you need a recipe)

Lunch: Quinoa Salad / Faux Fried Chicken* (we had this for dinner last night)
*Recommend leaving chicken in buttermilk mixture for at least 4 hours for best taste!

Snack: Apple

Dinner: Grilled Chicken and steamed broccolini

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Eggs and 1/2 Avocado

Lunch: Quinoa Salad

Snack: Banana

Dinner: Skillet Chicken & Quinoa

Wednesday:

 Breakfast: Protein Shake w/ Coconut Milk

Lunch: Skillet Chicken and Quinoa

Snack: handful of almonds

Dinner: Herby French Lentil Salad

Thursday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Herby French Lentil Salad

Snack: Banana

Dinner: Breakfast for dinner! 3 eggs omelet with spinach, tomato, onion and mushroom

We close on our new house on Friday, so I don’t imagine we’ll have time to cooking or to even heat up leftovers, so that will probably be a cheat day. But, even over this past weekend I was good with my cheat meal, I opted for a salad with no dressing for my side instead of sweet potato fries. I did manage to lose a pound this week, but my goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight, just to feel better and more energized.

Sick puppy who missed his daddy

Sick puppy who missed his daddy

I’d love to hear of any clean eating recipes that you know and love! Always looking for new ways to excite my taste buds! Feel free to share in the comments!

Healthy & Happy

Ever noticed how you drag after a weekend of eating fried food and indulging in a few more alcoholic beverages than you normally do? I certainly do, and I’m the first to notice when I’ve gained even a single pound. Eating healthy takes more work and lots of self-discipline, but isn’t it worth it to look and feel better? I’m committing to making the change and fueling my body with what it needs to run (literally), and getting rid of the “bad” stuff. This does not mean that I actually think the wings and barbeque I had from Mac’s yesterday (yes, I had both) were bad, but they certainly aren’t the definition of clean eating.

I spent time with family yesterday after dropping my husband off at the airport and didn’t make it to the grocery store. I am planning to go this afternoon and I’m including my shopping list (Clean Eating Groceries) for you – and a meal plan for the rest of the week.

So far today, I’ve had two over-easy eggs and 1/2 of an avocado and a salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, corn, black beans, onions and cilantro with lemon slices for the dressing. For dinner, I’m having left over ribs (thanks, Shelly & Doug) with sautéed garlic spinach and mushrooms. Since I plan on working out after work, I have a banana that I’ll have for a snack this afternoon. The grocery list is made based on what’s currently in my refrigerator and pantry, you’ll want to check your own before heading out to shop.

Here’s the rest of the week’s meal plan:

Tuesday
Breakfast: Oatmeal (if you need a recipe)
Lunch: Quinoa Salad (save the leftovers)
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Vegetable & Bean Soup (save the leftovers)

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Egg & Spinach Cup
Lunch: Vegetable & Bean Soup
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Skillet Chicken & Quinoa

Thursday:
Breakfast: Protein Shake w/ Coconut Milk
Lunch: Quinoa Salad
Snack: handful of almonds
Dinner: Herby French Lentil Salad

Friday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Vegetable & Bean Soup
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Grilled chicken /spinach / broccolini

Most of it is pretty self-explanatory and I’ve included recipes for those items that require more effort. If you’re not a fan of plain oatmeal, try the overnight oats recipe that I included. You’ll need a crock pot, ramekins and some time for most of these items, but it will be worth it at the end of the week when you’re already seeing a difference. Instead of waiting until after next weekend, or until the beginning of a new month (or year), why not start now?

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Where happiness lives!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we randomly saw and fell in love with a house and put an offer on it even before talking to the bank (who does that?). Well we got it, and our closing date is quickly approaching and we could not be more excited.

houseMoving gives us a chance to de-clutter before we get in the new place. Simplicity is something we both yearn for at home. The things we’ve found we’ll be okay without?: a fold up chair that hadn’t been used in 7 years (will get much more use in C+J’s house), framed artwork that no longer matches our colors (you’re welcome, mom), a futon (still up for grabs), a non-flat screen TV, 3 computers & a printer/scanner, 8 bags of clothes/sheets/blankets, tons of random picture frames (Aruba? Family? Florida?), and the rickety bookshelf I’ve had for too many years.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to decorate a new place. My husband owned our current home when we met, so it had already been given his personal touch (in the form of a Virginia Tech room and a green kitchen). I do love the Hokies, but I’m hoping in the new house to have an office space with less maroon and orange decor. And the good news is, my husband will be traveling, so he’ll get weekly surprises when he returns home to see what I’ve accomplished!

At the top of our list for things to do/buy:

  • A new bedroom set with a king sized bed – I’m thinking the Hemnes collection from IKEA
  • A new sectional (sadly, our 10×7 sectional wouldn’t fit the right way in the new house)
  • Trees/bushes for the back fence line for privacy – I love our neighborhood but I also love privacy, plus the dogs need something to pee on!
  • 2 white rocking chairs for the front porch (I’m also patiently waiting to hear if I can have my grandfather’s glider that is so memorable from my childhood)
  • Bikes! We’re so close to everything that we can just cruise around on our bikes instead of driving and looking for parking!
  • New furniture for our darling screened in porch:

house pI know we’ll spend a ton of time on this porch, whether for morning coffee, afternoon lunch, dinner, cocktails with friends, or any number of other reasons to be out there. We are totally smitten with this aspect of our home.

I would love to hear your favorite decorating/home item sites so I can start my search for the perfect new items for our pretty little house – feel free to share in the comments!

Snow Day!

The Southeast is being pummeled with a snow/ice storm currently, but we’re making the best of it. We’ve had the biggest, fluffiest snowflakes falling around us for two days now (with some ice over night).

Day 1

Day 1

What better to do than snap some photos of this one in a lifetime (or at least once in the past 6 years) event?

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snowday3Growing up in Virginia (about 15 minutes from Virginia Tech) and both having attended school in the area, we remember snow days very well. But snow days aren’t just for kids! Go have fun with your other half (or your pooches!).

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Make snow angels, go sledding if you’ve got a good hill, take your dog outside, make snow cream (the adult version, if you please) and hot chocolate… take advantage of the snow and extra time together.

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I’m sure you can find some ideas on this board to keep you entertained while snowed in and to avoid cabin fever. What are your favorite snow day ideas?

Married in a Magazine!

In January, Carolina Bride magazine released their January/March issue and included our wedding. For those who don’t live in the Charlotte area, you can read the article online and check out the photos. We didn’t hire a wedding photographer with the plan of getting our photos in a magazine – but some do.

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Most wedding magazines are looking for the details: the creative/personal touches you put on your day. Interesting cakes or dessert bars, cute sayings or quotes, chalkboards, floral designs, inclusion of family heirlooms or trinkets, all of those make for great photos and are clearly personalized. Also, while corrected photos can be absolutely gorgeous, most magazines want photos with natural light and very little correcting.

JPRBv.St.138Some magazines will tell you exactly what they like to include. If you’re set on having your wedding featured in a magazine, be sure to check out their requirements before you sit down with your photographer for the first time. Setting an expectation up front for what you want to happen, can make the process much easier. As I mentioned in this article, sharing photos with your photographer of what you want to be captured can help them understand your style and plan for specific poses.

8ptWa.St.138Be sure to understand the magazine before setting your heart on submitting photos. Some magazines only accept photos from vendors who advertise with them, such as Carolina Bride Magazine based in Charlotte, NC. Also, they only accept photos from weddings in Charlotte or from Charlotte based couples. Southern Weddings magazine based in Chapel Hill, NC, features only Southern weddings (duh!). Making sure you have the right amount of southern will be a key to being featured in their online blog or in print. The Knot and Martha Stewart Weddings are other magazines that you could shoot for, but understand that they get a lot of submissions!

15om1u.St.138Make sure who it is that needs to submit the photos and ensure all forms are properly completed. Each magazine accepts a different number of photos, and some just want a “preview” of your wedding to see if they will consider it.

nzr2U.St.138Understanding what the magazine’s current views are will also help. If you’re submitting a DIY wedding to an upscale wedding magazine, your chances of getting accepted may be slim. The same goes if you only submit posed and corrected photos to a magazine that’s requesting candid shots, creative shots or natural shots.

OfULY.St.138Make sure to include photos from throughout the day, as well. You want some from the moment you start getting ready…

1kQlwg.St.138To the second you’re getting ready to walk out the door to head to the ceremony… 89hCj.St.138

To photos with the wedding party… 1b1lA1.St.138

Both posed and having fun… (and with matching umbrellas in case in rains)mFOZW.St.138While posed photos can be perfected with multiple shots, sometimes the candid ones are the best:

1nPika.St.138Make sure photos are taken of all the DIY items you put time and energy into:

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And those special “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” items:

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It goes without saying that you want your first dance captured from start to finish (consider how you want this to look – people in a circle around you? Semi-circle? Only you two? Do you want guests pictured at all?):

WtR8Z-1.St.138More importantly than getting magazine perfect photos, you want to make sure that the photos represent you and your husband (or wife). They should capture your day, your personalities, and be keepsakes that you want to hang in your home for the rest of your life. Getting the right mix of posed and candid shots is key, and adding in some of those fun shots with your wedding party will make you smile for years to come. DSC_6686As I’ve mentioned before (and you can see from the photos), it rained on our wedding day. We were able to get most photos done before the ceremony and then ones with everyone together afterwards in between showers. Every time we tried to go outside after the ceremony, it seemed to rain harder, so I do believe we missed out on a few shots that we would have gotten otherwise.

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Our photographer (all photos by Pixel Photo and Design) has offered to come back and capture some more shots for us – which we are debating. A) Not sure we want to get all dressed up again (rent suit, clean dress again, hair/make up) which could be upwards of $500 and B) we wouldn’t have our guests or wedding party there to participate (unless we have a 2nd wedding!). So we’ll see about a second round of wedding photos, but that’s why it’s even more important to make sure on the day of that you have all the ones that you want – and have a rain plan in your back pocket so you aren’t figuring out poses and new spots the day before the wedding.

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I did not capture all the magazines that will feature real weddings, so be sure to search for wedding magazines in your local area or region and don’t be afraid to aim high. While styled shoots can be inspirational, brides love to see real weddings, especially in their venue so they can get ideas. Share your best photos and best ideas (and go with a photographer you’ve seen featured in the magazine  if you want to up your chances) and make sure to scoop up extra magazines for your parents if you do get published!